Background

Toyota is the world's largest automotive firm, with 333.500 employees worldwide, and 8.871.000 vehicles sold during FY 2013. An integral part of the success of Toyota is the strong leadership behavior, underpinned by a strong corporate culture, based on the Toyota Way with it's 5 core values; Challenge, Kaizen, Genchi Genbutsu, Respect and Teamwork. Toyota is very successful in the Nordic area, with a market share and profitability well above other European markets, and likes to stay that way! This program is part of that ambition. 

The Vision of the Toyota Nordic Academy was to provide a state-of-the-art leadership training that would ensure strong, highly qualified, responsible, and motivating Managers with excellent Leadership skills and a Customer First orientation – all in a Toyota Way manner, and with a quality equal to, or surpassing, the best business schools.

The goal of the training is to result in ensuring Toyota Nordic has highly motivated and professional Managers, who through increased skills in leadership and management basics in line with Toyota Way, can manage staff to higher performance with impact both short & midterm. Long term the goal is to grow talents into top-level Toyota NMSC executives.

Solution

A key requirement from Toyota side was that the selected partner should provide a training experience that is interactive, involving, challenging and fun. After a thorough selection process, Coaching 4 Performance (now Cimplement Group) was selected as partner based on the unique pedagogical approach, that challenges/helps/encourages participants to go from general "know-how" (being aware of desired behaviors) to personal "show-how" (ability to act as good role models, living the Toyota Way) in a practical hands-on way.

"We were impressed by the commitment of the country Presidents" Per Cedergren, CEO of Cimplement says. By being forerunners, taking the challenge to be the first to go through the program, it also ensured the ownership of the program from all other levels. Coaching 4 Performance (now Cimplement Group) translated a well-developed brief into a training program that improves leadership skills in line with the stated objectives. Recognizing that time is a scarce resource, Coaching 4 Performance (now Cimplement Group) developed a high-impact program that required each person to invest only six days over a 6-9 month period, in groups of maximum 11 Managers, each group having three two-day sessions, the first in Sweden, the second in Denmark and the third in Norway. Additional programs are also conducted in Finland, the Baltics, Sweden and Norway.

Results

90 Managers at Toyota Nordic from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and the Baltics participated in the training program, which was packed with exercises and examples and links to each participant's own daily leadership practice. By focusing on people’s behavior and skills, the program confronted counterproductive habits and instilled new ones that were in line with Toyota Way and the strong Customer First orientation. 

Hans-Eric Almebäck, President of Toyota Nordic, says he is very satisfied with the results of the project. It has been very valuable both for the individual managers, becoming excellent leaders, and for Toyota in the Nordic region. It has created a common language among all top managers in the Nordic region, further strengthening cross-country cooperation and serving as a catalyst for increased best practice sharing. The professionalization of the daily leadership has been very beneficial for Toyota Nordic, its clients and employees; “Participants have gained better leadership, coaching and negotiation skills, such as giving feedback, communicating decisions, convincing and handling tensions in a constructive way. It has also given our mangers the tools to better serve clients and to build stronger client relationships. In essence, it has helped us to translate Toyota Values to what it means in daily leadership behaviors - living the Toyota Way!” 

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